By Chinedu Eze
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has condemned in absolute terms the invasion of the runway of Sultan Abubakar III International Airport, Sokoto, by loyalists of the former Governor of Sokoto State, Aliyu Wamakko.
FAAN said in a statement that political loyalists of the former governor broke the fence and invaded the airport in a bid to “receive their political masters.”
This is against international standard practices and the regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
In the aviation circles, it is considered a security breach which may lead to the downgrade or outright closure of the airport
According to FAAN statement signed by its spokesperson and the General Manager, Corporate Affairs of the agency, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, “The unfortunate incident, which occurred on August 3, 2018, is a gross violation of the security and safety arrangements at the airport, as thousands of political loyalists violently accessed restricted areas at the airport, breaking down the airport fence in the process and resisting all security machineries in place.”
Yakubu noted, however, that a team of aviation security officers were able to curtail the situation and normalcy was restored at the airport.
According to international practices, the airside of the airport cannot be accessed by unauthorised persons for security reasons in order to ensure that incendiary devices or other dangerous objects are not taken to the restricted area of the airport where aircraft lands and takes off.
“The airport environment is a highly regulated environment and should be seen as such. As the 2019 general election is drawing closer, FAAN will like to advise the public, especially politicians and their supporters to ensure compliance with all rules and regulations at the airports, as we will not compromise security and safety at our airports for any reason,” Yakubu also said.